Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?
And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money–fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax.
Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.
Huge thank you to Walker Children’s and Netgalley for this ARC!
I admit, I wasn’t expecting much from a book titled The Chapel Wars. It sounded goofy and awkward, and I found myself questioning how a seventeen year old girl ended up inheriting a chapel, but, I found myself won over by the very first page.
The only other book by Lindsey Leavitt I have read is Going Vintage, and while I enjoyed the book, there were certainly aspects of it that rubbed me the wrong way. I was a bit hesitant to read, but much like Mallory in Going Vintage, Holly’s voice hooks you from the very start and she eases you well into her little “horror story.”
Let’s face it, how many seventeen year olds end up inheriting a family business? It’s definitely something you have to suspend your disbelief for at first, but Leavitt develops Holly’s love for the run down chapel as something intense, and Holly is willing to go through hell and back to save it from her grandfather’s rival. The book also establishes that Holly has always wanted to go into business and it’s definiely a perk to how the story progresses.
What I adored about The Chapel War is just how humourous and honest everything felt. Holly is not without flaws, she’s a little bit of an ice queen, but she’s deeply family oriented, which I always appreciate in YA, even if her family is a mess. I love the hope that carries on her sleeve and the passion she has for success — she knows she can fail, but she does her best o keep herself a float and just work for a positive.
I also fond the supporting cast excellent as well, particularly Sam and Grant who made me chuckle as much as Holly did. A lot of the secondary characters have issues of their own, and yet Leavitt manages to resolve the majority of the problems in unexpected ways, and the ending of the novel is not what one would predict right away. Hope is such a huge part of this story, and I found myself connecting constantly with the characters in ways I didn’t expect to.
And then there is Dax. Yes Dax is a swoon worthy boy, but he’s a lovable and sincere soul.He’s not out for himself, or to push his grandfather’s rivalry with Holly’s forward — he just loves what he does and he isn’t afraid of people judging him for it. Well, everyone except Holly. It’s interesting how the two play off of each other, but you can see even when they fight that they have a deep respect for the others skills. I really enjoyed that they also got to know each other and the romance wasn’t just thrown into the story. It was very sweet overall.
The Chapel Wars made me grin, emote, and remind me that just because something may sound cheesy, it doesn’t mean it is cheesy. The ending of this book is absolutely perfect considering the event of the novel, and it definitely will leave readers satisfied. I’m really happy I gave this book a shot because it gave me so much unexpected joy upon its completion, that I was still thinking about it days later.